In Part 1 of our Denver report, we made it to our 21st Major League Stadium by taking in a Rockies game at Coors Field, tried out Denver’s nice but imperfect light rail system, and had a very..VERY…good dinner at the Wyncoop Brewery. In Part 2, we spend some time exploring downtown and start a pub crawl. We also got to the Denver Zoo which is a zoo, frankly, with all the field trip kids there.
Yesterday, we took a day trip to Colorado Springs (report coming soon). The Springs doesn’t have great public transportation so we went ahead and rented an accessible van from Wheelers Van Rentals. The van itself wasn’t cheap…$230 for two days…and looked to be ridden hard and put away wet.
Still, it got the job done and got us where we needed to go.
We get a hot breakfast buffet included in our rate at the Drury Inn and Suites. The choices are scrambled eggs, biscuits & gravy, sausage, cereal, waffles, bagels, and toast. It’s the exact same selection every day. We’re getting a bit burned out on it.
Skipping the hotel breakfast, we head to Colfax Avenue east of downtown to Pete’s Kitchen. Pete is a bit of a restaurant legend in this town who immigrated from Greece, opened a diner, and parlayed that into a mini restaurant empire here in Denver. There’s Pete’s Kitchen, Pete’s Sapphire Lounge, Pete’s Gyros, Pete’s Greek Diner, and more.
His kitchen is a retro diner masterpiece but there’s no room for a wheelchair in the small, original diner space so we sit at a table in the room that was added on. Today we feast on a green chile breakfast burrito, pancakes, eggs, bacon, hash browns, and French toast. It’s very delicious and just a bit more than cheap.
Back on the road, we head east of Denver to Morrison, home to Red Rocks Park. Like the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, this is a public park full of great red rock features. The best known of which is the Red Rocks Amphitheater.
The theater is world renowned for its striking beauty, attracting artists as varied as Willie Nelson, U2, and the Beatles.
Tim and I head to the top row where we can get a striking view down to the stage. If you’re in a wheelchair at this 70 year old venue, you can either sit in the top row or the first row. There is nothing accessible in between.
From our perch on the top, it is soon apparent that there is no accessible route down to the stage so we get back in the van and find the handicapped parking area near the park’s trading post.
To get to the stage from here, there’s a long ramp that hugs the side of a red rock cliff.
It’s a steep ramp and luckily Tim has his power chair. If he’d had his manual chair, I don’t know if we’d have made it up. Even so, I’m huffing and puffing a bit when we finally make it up.
A set up crew is moving equipment onto the stage for the graduation ceremonies, but we’re able to go around them and spend some time onstage via a ramp at the end.
It’s quite a thrill to be standing in front of the 10,000 seats…right on the same spot as John & Paul, Willie, and Bono to drop just a few names.
The view from the stage must be quite inspiring to these performers.
Our time here is up and we head back down to visit the trading post. While there, a bit thunderstorm hits and we have to navigate our way back to the van through a downpour of pellet sized hail.
We continue on to Golden but the weather doesn’t cooperate and we’re only able to get a few pictures of the town and the massive Coors brewery.
Heading back into town, glancing to the north of downtown, I see a funnel cloud and ask Letty if that’s what she sees too. In town, there’s just a slight drizzle and we head to the Cheeky Monk for a quick bite. Afterward, back in the car, we turn on the radio just in time to get the Emergency Broadcasting System’s announcement of a tornado warning.
Luckily, it’s a few miles north of us and we’re heading south. Back to our cozy suite at the Drury Inn where we can relax in the warmth, pack up, and catch the taxi back to the airport in the morning.
Copyright 2011 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved